Pakistan’s war on terror


It is very interesting that after having suffered about 30,000 civil and over 3500 military casualties certain quarters still call the War on Terror as America’s war. The war that has brought economic activities in the country to almost standstill, increased unemployment by many folds and thereby substantially enlarging the number of people living below poverty line can’t be called America’s war.
This war is hurting every Pakistani rich or poor in one or the other way. Our people are dying, our schools are demolished, our businesses are attacked, our mosques and seminaries are bombed, we are not safe at market and work places and not event while at home and yet we call it America’s war. This is an utterly unacceptable dissonance that at one end is pushing us into the fire and on the other end flaming the same fire. In this mist of disillusion if Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiayani tries to define extremism and terrorism that also draws the wrath from pseudo intellectuals and ill intending quarters. It is an entrenched belief of every Muslim that Islam is a universal religion and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is blessing for the entire universe, if that is so, than there is no room for myopic and absolutist interpretation of Islam.
Sounding of concerns about expanding influence of extremist and fundamentalist elements by General Kayani is not a paradigm shift on the part of the Armed Forces of the country. This realization always existed; its most striking example is Swat and South Waziristan operations. The amount of sacrifices rendered by the Armed Forces and civil population of the area are well known. These historic but painful events speak of resolve of the forces of Pakistan to rid the country of terrorism, but the most pronounced revelation was that almost hundred percent people sided with the Army and supported it in combating extremists and terrorists. There is no reason to believe that people will not side with the Army in its future ventures against terrorists.
The notion that General Kayani’s speech on Independence Day at Kakul underlines a paradigm shift in the thinking and approach of the Armed Forces of the country is totally misplaced. Under Kayani’s command, Army is only performing its constitutional role, wherein, checking spread of different ideologies and policing doesn’t figure out. Moreover, Armed Forces can not take stated position on politico-social and socio-religious development in the country. It is the responsibility of the civil government to address these issues. Maligning Army for delay in taking action against terrorists, especially Haqqani net work is in fact tantamount to towing American line of propaganda. There are host of factors which needs to be balanced before such a venture can be undertaken like guaranties that the eastern border of the country will remain secured, assurance that the terrorists won’t be allowed to slip into Afghanistan thus spared to create trouble in Pakistan at later time frame, management of displaced people, logistic support etc. The most important of these would be mental and physically preparation of the nation as a whole. It is the common people living in different towns and cities those who will be targeted by the terrorists using all sort of heinous devices ranging from suicide bombers to remote devices. More than forces, people will suffer loss of life and property as we have already experienced. So once General Kayani warns that we should not be divided on the issue rather we should develop national consensus against extremism he accentuates the importance of national unity on the issue. If people are determined to eliminate extremism from its ranks and files that would make the job of the Army easier. In fact no army in the world can succeed without the support of the people.
There are speculations that Army will soon launch operation in North Waziristan that has already triggered exodus of the people from the area. People have started leaving their homes just on speculations that signals their disapproval of extremist school of thought. They have opted to leave the comfort of their homes and be refuges so that Army could perform its task only because it is our war and not that of Americans. That also reflects on their faith in the defense forces of Pakistan. This relation of faith and love has not come about by hollow slogans. National Armed Forces are the defense forces that care for the people of the country and strive to protect them from adversities in its all forms. In fact people have spoken in favor of the forces irrespective of the propaganda coined by foreign touts.


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